Widely acclaimed by Church leaders and theologians, Pope Benedict the 16th has written a new book, published in seven languages and released on March 10th. The title, “Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week—From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection” speaks for itself—a scholarly analysis of the last days of Jesus.
In writing the book, the Pope desired to convey “the real Jesus,” whom he maintains was not just a moral person—nor a political revolutionary or an opportunist; but in reality God’s Son. He led sinless life and saved humankind by the power of His love—and who changed history by acts of obedience to his Father.
Pope Benedict writes, “Violent revolution, killing others in God’s name was not his way.” He does not believe that Jesus was an idealistic zealot or crazy fanatic. The zeal that impassioned the Son of Man was a different kind—for people and extending God’s kingdom on earth.
Much research went into the book allowing the Pope to draw such conclusions from a scholarly point of view that Jesus, indeed, walked and lived on this earth and that he was crucified and rose again on the third day.
I think this book will be of great interest to both Jew and Gentile because of the Pope’s broad research and scholarly approach. One of the most significant points that is drawing media attention is a passage that states unequivocally that there is no Scriptural basis for blaming the Jewish people as a whole for the crucifixion of Jesus.
This is a courageous statement with vastly important implications and not new to the Catholic Church. In 1965, the same declaration was made by the Second Vatican Council and was revolutionary at the time. They drew up a short document titled, Nostra Aetate—“Our Times”—declaring that the Seed of Abraham are still God’s Chosen People, not to be demonized for the death of Jesus, and strongly condemning anti-Semitism.
In the 1970’s, a group arose within the Church opposing the views of the council, publishing anti-Semitic materials, blaming Jews for the crucifixion, and denying the Holocaust. They have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, but the Pope drew them into the fold again recently. This action seemed counter-productive, especially in light of the Pope’s statements about the Jewish people not taking blame for the death of Christ. On one hand, Pope Benedict the 16th appears to want to mend fences with God’s Chosen People… Not surprisingly, there was Jewish outrage at the Pope’s decision.
Richard Williamson, the main figure in the group, claims there is no proof that the Holocaust happened.
The Pope later stated that when he lifted the ex-communication he was unaware of any Holocaust denial from Williamson. He has said that in order for Williamson to take full advantage of the ex-communication, he must recant his denial. Which he has refused to do…
You and I live in interesting times! Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, anti-Zionism are on the rise. Governments and nations are unstable. We need a Rock that is higher than us. We need shelter from the storm. We need supernatural wisdom and grace to overcome in days like these.
In these days, people are searching for real answers. Frequently, I find myself sitting by a person on a plane or standing in line the grocery store who is actively seeking concrete answers to bring stability.
Economic upheaval, wars, tsunamis, earthquakes, anti-Semitism… The headline news gives me opportunity to give a reason for the hope that lies within me.